Sony receives criticism for using marketing materials to allegedly push gamers into buying a more expensive $69.99 Horizon Forbidden West bundle. But why is that?
Sony is selling two cross-gen bundles for Horizon Forbidden West. One is $69.99 and comes with a PS4 and PS5 copy. The other is $59.99 and comes with a PS4 copy and a digital upgrade to the PS5 version. Functionally, both options are identical. Sony splits cross-gen games into two SKUs, so any bundle that you buy will unlock both a PS4 and a separate PS5 version of the game.
So why does the $69.99 version exist at all? There's a few reasons. One is that the $59.99 version cannot be purchased on the PS5's storefront. Two is that the SKU existed before Sony made the announcement to honor their prior commitment and offer a free next-gen upgrade. Three, it's possible the $69.99 PS4 and PS5 bundle offers a permanent license to both versions of the game, and the $59.99 PS4 version offers a limited-time upgrade to PS5 that could expire.
Four, and the more duplicitous reason, may surround the use of slightly misleading marketing promos to get gamers to spend $10 more in an effort to maximize revenues.
Reason five is tied with reason four. Sony's first-party PlayStation games simply do not sell nearly as many copies as third-party titles; the attach rates for Sony's first-party games is much lower than Nintendo's.
In FY2020, for example, Sony sold 58.4 million first-party games (17% of total) compared to 280.5 million third-party games (83% of total). This isn't revenue, but overall unit sales volume.
That's not to say first-party games don't sell. They do, and they sell a lot.
Our list of first-party PlayStation game sales shows that its original games are quite popular. And the figures are much higher than what's reported because Sony delivers outdated data.
The main point is that first-party games don't sell nearly as many copies as third-party games. That's to be expected given the massive amount of content on the PlayStation Store. Sony absolutely wants to make as much revenue per unit sale as possible and it's worth mentioning that a good portion of these first-party sales are made from discounts and not full retail versions.
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